SDG16+ — May 2018


Welcome to your monthly roundup of 16+ news and views from the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies. If you find this newsletter useful, please pass it on to others working on the SDG16+ targets for peace, justice and inclusion. Subscribe or unsubscribe here — and, of course, read the Roadmap on Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies.

1. An Institutional Transformation

We don’t hear enough about the governance challenge that will make or break the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. According to the Roadmap for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, this challenge has three dimensions:

  • Growing complexity driven by demographic change, urbanization, economic growth, and technological progress.
  • Growing aspirations as a hyperconnected global middle class piles pressure on governments to deliver.
  • Growing opportunities with social innovations spreading across borders and technology offering new ways to manage societies and economies.

But many — if not most — sectors are yet to recognize the need for “an institutional transformation of a scale and ambition that matches the goals themselves.” Take education:

  • More than half of the world’s children are failing to learn, a crisis that threatens SDG4 but also “many of the other SDGs that depend on having literate and numerate populations.”
  • In at least 37 countries, more than half of the money spent on education is wasted due to weak governance and “an education corruption hydra” with many heads.
  • Inclusive and equitable quality education will only be delivered by 2030 through new approaches to understanding, sharing, managing and financing approaches that will allow hundreds of millions more children to learn.

An institutional renewal is equally important for building universal health and protection systems, for moving towards more inclusive patterns of growth, or for re-engineering societies to support sustainable production and consumption.

SDG16’s call for “effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels” cannot be seen in isolation — but must be central to how we think about all of the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda for people, planet, prosperity, and peace.

2. Principles of Responsive and Effective Governance

In its 17th session, the Committee of Experts on Public Administration explored the 2030 Agenda’s governance challenge and proposed a set of “basic principles of responsive and effective governance for sustainable development.”

The principles:

  • Effectiveness: competence, sound policymaking, and collaboration.
  • Accountability: integrity, transparency, and independent oversight.
  • Inclusiveness: non-discrimination, participation, subsidiarity, intergenerational equity, and leaving no-one behind.

For each principle, the Committee has begun to gather the strategies that countries are using to drive up standards and technical guidelines that can guide implementation. It is asking countries to submit examples of best-practice for each principle, through joint work with the Pathfinders and other SDG16+ platforms.

3. The Friends of Governance

The Friends of Governance for Sustainable Development — chaired by the Republic of Korea, Mexico and Romania.

The group provides an informal space for member states who believe that “sustainable development will only become a reality if we have the enabling environment for it to happen.”

4. The World’s Best Preventive Tool

In April, the President of the General Assembly hosted a High-Level Meetingon Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace.

  • The UN Secretary General: “Sustainable, inclusive development, deeply rooted in respect for all human rights… is the world’s best preventive tool… the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is our common blueprint for more peaceful, stable, resilient societies.”

The Secretary General called for “a holistic approach which prioritises prevention and addresses the root causes of conflict by integrating peace, sustainable development and human rights.”

This fits with the Pathfinders call for a new commitment to prevention in all countries, with intensified and targeted support for countries in crisis, or for those where the risks of violence and insecurity are growing.

5. Sustaining Peace in Action

During the High-Level Meeting, Switzerland, the g7+, ECOWASA, PBSO and UNDP co-hosted a side event to explore how SDG16+ can be used to guide nationally-owned progress, sustainable peace, and development.

  • Ibrahima Diallo, Commissioner for Security Reforms at the Office of the Prime Minister, Republic of Mali spoke about the importance of local consultative councils which bring together representatives, traditional chiefs, and religious leaders to discuss security. “We also need to have inclusivity by bringing on board women and youth… Security goes beyond the state, it is a matter for everyone.”
  • Pascale Baeriswyl, State Secretary in Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs: the Sustaining Peace resolutions and 2030 Agenda give us a strong mandate for an integrated approach to prevention. “For hundreds of millions of people, violence, and exclusion are standing in the way of us achieving SDG16+ by 2030… we invite more countries to be champions for peace and development, and to become Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies.”
  • Other speakers included three new UN appointments: Ana Maria Menéndez, the SG’s adviser on policy, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, who has just taken over as Executive Director of UN Habitat, and Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, head of UNDP’s Global Policy Bureau.

Click here to watch the event.

6. An SDG16+ Story in Somaliland

In August 2017, Somaliland launched a new National Development Plan based on the SDG framework, incorporating many targets relevant to SDG16+. Saferworld has been working in Somaliland to bring SDG16+ into practice to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies in the country.

  • Vision for Somaliland. “SDG16+ can be a catalyst for Somaliland by improving social inclusion, justice and stability and by engaging with society from grassroots to the national level”
  • Four priority areas include access to justice (SDG16.3), ending female genital mutilation (SDG5.3), women’s political participation (SDG5.5), and freedom to information (SDG16.10)
  • Achieving SDG16+ ambitions will require mapping actions towards SDG16+ targets across the country; working with civil society; building capacity; and strengthening monitoring and data capabilities with increased commitment from donors

7. The Culture of Prevention

Why is prevention so hard?

David Steven, one of the external advisers to the UN-World Bank Pathways for Peacestudy wrote a box that was cut from the final report, but has now been published by the Center on International Cooperation.

  • “It has proved very difficult to persuade decision-makers at national and international level that prevention must be their priority — perhaps because successful prevention does not attract attention. The television cameras are not there when a crisis is avoided.”
  • “The long view will continue to be crowded out without a change of incentives. How do we reward the slow and patient work needed to build more peaceful and inclusive societies?”

Read the whole thing to find out why we live in a world of Tetris, but need to learn to play Snakes and Ladders.

8. Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development

Stockholm basked in sun for this year’s Forum on Peace and Developmentwhich explored the challenge of building the political will to invest in prevention in the places that need it most.

After the opening plenary which brought together Sweden’s Deputy Prime Minister, the President of the General Assembly, and ministers from Sweden, Liberia, and Somalia, we:

  • Presented the work of the Pathfinders in the ‘featured initiatives fair’.
  • Explored the links between the Pathways for Peace study and the Roadmap’s focus on targeted prevention for countries and communities at greatest risk of being left behind.

9. Politics, Diplomacy and the Role of Women

The standout session at the Stockholm Forum explored the role of women as a foundation for building a sustainable and inclusive peace.

  • Adela Raz, Deputy Foreign Minister, Afghanistan on the network of women leaders in government. “It will take time for my male colleagues to accept that there is a woman in the room and her opinion needs to be respected… It’s really difficult to work and believe that you are not only there as a woman.”
  • Asha Siyad, Somali Women’s Leadership Initiative: “The Somali women will unite and become an extra clan. By 2020, we will be fighting for our rights with the help of the international community.”
  • Margot Wallström, Sweden’s Minister of Foreign Affairs: “We cannot wait for attitudes to change. Then it will take another hundred years or so. We need to focus on what we can do now. Through history, to achieve rights for women has been a matter of women struggling.”

10 . Canada’s Justice Development Goals

The Task Force on Justice continues its research, with working groups forming on the justice gap, the case for investment in justice, innovation, and many other areas.

A trip to the annual summit of the Action Committee on Access to Justice offered an opportunity to explore Canada’s implementation of the SDG targets for justice, with both the Minister of Justice, her deputy, and the Chief Justice all speaking:

  • The committee was formed to tackle a serious lack of access to justice in Canada. Civil and family justice is “too complex, too slow and too expensive” and lacks the leadership and structure to design and implement change.
  • An access to justice roadmap guides its work as part of a shift to people-centered and problem-solving approaches: “We need to focus not only on resolving disputes but on preventing them as well… We must work to make things simple, coherent, proportional and sustainable… Providing justice — not just in the form of fair and just process but also in the form of fair and just outcomes — must be our primary concern.”
  • Nine justice development goals: address everyday legal problems, meet legal needs, make courts work better, improve family justice, work together, innovate, analyze and learn, and improve funding strategies.

11. Reimagining Justice

At the NYU Bernstein Institute for Human Rights: Reimagining Justice: Realizing Human Rights through Legal Empowerment:

  • A rallying cry drawn from the work of the writer and activist, James Baldwin: “If one really wishes to know how justice is administered in a country, one does not question the policemen, the lawyers, the judges, or the protected members of the middle class. One goes to the unprotected — those, precisely, who need the law’s protection most! — and listens to their testimony.”
  • Leading activists, lawyers, researchers came together to assess the state of the legal empowerment field, identify key research and methodological opportunities, and build a stronger global movement for grassroots justice.
  • Vivek Maru, Namati CEO and member of the Task Force on Justice: “Law is supposed to be the language we use to translate our dreams about justice into living institutions that hold us together.”

The Bernstein Institute will shortly launch their Reimagining Justice website, complete with panel videos, photos, and more.

12. Private sector and SDG16+

The private sector can play a prominent role in delivering SDG16+. The Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law hosted an annual conference on the role of the private sector in fostering peace, justice, and strong institutions.

  • Business Case.“A lot of themes captured in SDG16 (e.g. strong institutions, lack of corruption) are vital for a stable and sustainable business environment.”
  • Business Strategies. SDGs should be mainstreamed into business strategies and throughout the supply chain. Companies can utilize tools such as the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights.
  • Partnership.It is important to build strong and lasting partnerships, including with local communities and SMEs, for the business sector and lawyers to facilitate access to justice (e.g. via pro-bono mechanisms)

Read the full report and the agenda of the conference. With the Bingham Centre and other partners represented at the conference, we are developing proposals for how the private sector can contribute to the Task Force on Justice.

13. Knowledge grants for civil society and justice

The Knowledge Platform for Security and Rule of Law is offering grants of up to €15,000 for innovative, agile, and experimental proposals that aim to “move the needle” on the SDG targets for access to justice:

  • We encourage civil society organizations and other partners to consider applying and to feed results into the work of the Task Force on Justice.
  • Applications are open — and with a fast turnaround.
  • Feed your results into the next Task Force meeting in October, the next 16+ Forum, and Knowledge Platform’s annual conference.

14. The High-level Group on Justice for Women

On 28–29 May, UN Women and IDLO host the inaugural meeting of the High-Level Working Group on Women’s Access to Justice in The Hague.

  • Opening remarks by co-chair of the Task force on Justice, Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, the Netherlands, will open the meeting.
  • High-level representatives from the governments of Argentina, Canada, the Gambia, Somalia and senior representatives from World Bank, Commonwealth, Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, academia, and civil society. Full list to be announced soon.
  • Places the justice needs of women at the heart of the work of the Task Force on Justice and will highlight their role in building just societies.
  • Will launch its report during the sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) in March 2019.

Read the groups terms of reference.

15. For your diaries next month

17 May: Canada’s Contribution to the Pathfinders, Global Centre for Pluralism

23 May: Special Meeting of ECOSOC

28–30 May: World Congress on Justice for Children

4–8 June: Pathfinders in Freetown, Sierra Leone

12–13 June: International Bar Association Annual Anti-Corruption Conference

13–14 June: FriEnt Peacebuilding Forum

16. SDG16+ roundup

  • A learning exchangefor legal empowerment practitioners on citizenship — apply by 3 June 2018.
  • The campaign accelerator toolkit: a practical guide for planning campaign projects that puts people at the centre of our efforts for change.
  • Evidence informed policy making is not the opposite of politicized decision making.
  • Reducing pre-trial detention in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
  • Online platformsfor participatory planning and urban development.
  • Judges as peacebuilders –the role of the justice sector in prevention in transitional settings
  • British Academy funding for Sustainable Development Programme 2018
  • Research Fellowships in Atrocity Prevention apply for the position
  • Proposals for Security and Rule of Law Program — apply by 5 June 2018
  • Event submissions for Geneva Peace Week — apply by 15 June 2018

Plus 16 things we’re reading

G20 countries moving too slowly to combat financial crime ▪ The power of law in people’s hands ▪ Canada’s implementation of 2030 Agenda ▪ Varieties of Democracy dataset from 1789–2017 ▪ Society and the Sustainable Development Goals ▪ Peacebuilding podcasts ▪ SDG16+ in action ▪ Call for papers — Including Children and Adolescents in Progress for the SDGs ▪ HiiL’s call for innovative solutions to justice issues faced by SMEs ▪ The place of streetwork in violence interventions ▪ Consultation on 2018 SDG Report Cards ▪ UN Statistics Division launch online data hub ▪ CHOGM meeting communiqué on 2030 Agenda ▪ The need for free press in transparent societies and good governance ▪ Passionate about promoting peace ▪ Reforms needed in Pakistan to implement SDG16 ▪ Evidence-based policies to address violence against children ▪ Cellphone traffic and small-scale violence in Ivory Coast ▪ Alcohol availability and harm in Scotland ▪ Culture of evidence in governments ▪ Geneva Call’s research on education in armed conflict ▪ “Hate Speechin Nigeria’s election ▪ IMF’s Framework for Enhanced Fund Engagement